Considering the global financial crisis that has dominated the headlines of late, a lot of people will be looking for ways to cut costs in any way they can. If one of your passions involves skiing and you are having second thoughts about taking a ski holiday due to the cost, this blog is written for you. It offers some useful tips and advice on how you can make cost savings…and even possibly still have some money spare to enjoy your après ski!
Get the timing right
There is no doubt that there are certain times of the year that you want to avoid when it comes to paying high prices for your skiing holiday. These include: February half term, Easter, Christmas and New Year. It is best to target early December and January after New Year for the best deals. Also because Easter is late next year you may also find some good deals in March.
Another good tip is to book your holiday early. When you are booking flight tickets separately, low budget airlines like Easyjet and Ryanair offer the best prices the earlier you book. The alternative is to book at the last minute and websites such as www.lastminute.com provides some fantastic discounts and savings.
Airport parking is another big cost but if you pre-book your parking you can save up to 50%.
Where to go
The more famous the resort, the more it normally costs. To save money you have two options: go for a lesser known and less expensive destination or find cheaper accommodation in your first-choice resort.
Get the best exchange rate
The rate of exchange can make a big difference to the cost of your ski holiday. To get the best rate do your research before you go.
There are some good ways of cutting costs in terms of where you are staying.
- Book self-catering accommodation particularly if you are in a large group as the larger the chalet/apartment the cheaper the “per bed” cost.
- Cut out the luxuries – if you are going to be hitting the slopes on a regular basis there really is no need to have extras like room service and a swimming pool. You can also save money by staying in three star hotels and B&B’s which still provide a friendly atmosphere when you come back after a hard day on the piste!
- Big resorts can work out cheaper than smaller ones as they have a greater variety of hotels, such as one- and two-star hotels and a greater choice of good-value restaurants.
Clothing and equipment
For first time skiers buying ski clothing and equipment can be a big expense in the overall cost of a ski holiday. You can save money by not buying at the resort but searching out for good deals in the UK before you go. Shops such as TK Maxx are worth checking out as they are one of the biggest suppliers of ski clothing in Britain. Ebay is another good source of both new and second-hand ski clothing and equipment. Tip: If you are new to skiing don’t splash out on expensive ski wear you may never use again.
Beware of airline baggage chargesWhile you may want to take all your ski equipment on holiday to save on ski hire costs, please be aware that by going by plane, some airlines charge for ski carriage. For example, currently Ryanair charges £50 and Easyjet charge £33. However, some airlines such as Swiss, BA and Snowjet currently don’t charge to carry your ski gear. Bear this in mind when comparing flight prices.
Getting to your resort
Self drive is a popular option especially for families. One main benefit is that you can take as much baggage as your vehicle will allow space for. With an average journey time of 10-12 hours to the Alps it can be a cheaper option for families than flying. For a family self catering ski holiday, you can save money by purchasing food at supermarkets away from your resort. Other advantages include being able to drive through some fantastic mountain roads with some great scenery.
The larger the group the better!
If you manage to get enough of your friends to come, then there is a chance you can get your own holiday for free! There are some really good deals on offer such as with Neilson you can get 25% off bookings for groups of seven or more and, as well as this, you can get free lift passes. Also Inghams has a free place in eight at all chalets and selected hotels. So try and persuade as many friends as possible to come along – not only will you have more fun in a crowd, you will be saving money as well!
Eating outEating in restaurants on the mountains can be very expensive. Some hotels offer packed lunches which will not only save you money compared to mountain prices but will also save you time from queuing! If you are not on half board, make lunch your main meal and eat in the resort. There are usually lunch–time specials which work out cheaper than eating on the mountain or having dinner in the evening. Drinks too in a resort are expensive, so make the most of happy hour or après-ski specials.
Don’t forget travel insurance with winter sports cover!
You want to relax when on the piste so you can enjoy your ski holiday all the more. To put your mind at ease, make sure you take out travel insurance including winter sports cover just in case you have an accident and need medical treatment. 24/7 Ski insurance offers winter sports cover for 1 week in Europe for just £15.54*.
*Premium £15.54 includes Insurance Premium Tax based on 1 adult aged under 55 taking out a ‘Standard’ Single Trip policy with Winter Sports cover for 7 days in Europe and travelling within 14 days of purchase. Cover details and prices are correct at time of going to press (October 2008) and are subject to change.